Sunday, December 16, 2007

Second bite at Auckland Airport by CPPIB could just fly

Well, I got the offer for my Auckland International Airport Ltd [AIA.NZX] shares from the Canucks', Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, in my mailbox yesterday.

This is the second bid from the Canadians.

Its pretty basic, you can either accept the offer partially or fully for your shares and vote accordingly for CPPIB to take just shy of a 40% stake in AIA and for a NZ$3.6555c cash consideration.

Seems allot lower value than some have put on the company but it is a reasonable advance on the current share price of $2.80.

Brook Asset Management and other broker institutions look likely to back the offer but the two large council owned parcels of shares and those of Lloyd Morrison's Infratil, which make up around a 30% shareholding are likely to sit on the other side of the fence.

There are also regulatory issues in the way in regard to Overseas Investment Office and IRD approval of tax related matters germain to the deal and political pressure from the usual numbskull's like Winston "Baubles" Peters.

This bid however is more likely to succeed than the bid from Dubai Aerospace International, which was shot down by the AIA board even before it could be put to shareholders earlier in the year because there isn't the Middle East/Muslim factor involved and the DAE bid involved more control with a bigger stake.

Obvious problems with a Muslim company owning AIA made a big influence on my decision then to back shareholders holding onto their shares although I wasn't opposed to another foreign owner making a bid.

Having seen the CPPIB offer it looks good compared to the alternative if one was to stay a shareholder.

CPPIB has changed the terms of its planned amalgamation with AIA (assuming it gets to approx 40 per cent). Stapled securities issued under the proposed amalgamation will now include a convertible note with a face value of $2.75 (previously $3.35) an ordinary share with a face value of $.0.7055 (previously $0.1055) and $0.20 cash (unchanged). The convertible notes will pay a 7 % coupon rate.

So there is more debt servicing for the new AIA model under the Canadian proposal and this is clearly going to drag on profit in the short to medium term until the various benefits they have mentioned under the new structure are bedded down and then realised.

The Canuck investment board sure are canny investors with a good track record,

CPP Fund
$121.3 Billion
At September 30, 2007

But it remains to be seen, if they are successful whether they can make their investment in AIA fly or if it is going to crash land.

There is going to be a AIA Board announcement and appraisal tomorrow(NZ Time) by Grant Samuel's, with valuation assessment and projections on passenger and aircraft demand.

Full CPPIB Offer

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